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Rolyr

Private william charles phillips 26686 4th Bn Grenadier Guards killed 13/04/1918

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Rolyr

I'm trying to find some information on william charles phillips for a relative of his. I know he's remembered on the Berkshire Corner Cem extension at Ploegsteert. Does anyone know which action he was killed in or the cercumstances of his death, or any other details of his service. A pic would be great. 

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The Inspector

Hi Rolyr

Been searching.....Soldiers' effects show sole legatee to be  "Gdn" his Guardian Florence Phillips, there is a Pension ledger  Ref 3/W/1538 but I don't subscribe to  Fold 3.

Regards Barry

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HolymoleyRE

Hi, 

 

4th Battalion War Diary for the period is here, worth £3.50 if you want to know more. 

 

It includes a detailed report of the Battalion's stand on the 12th & 13th of April. 

 

He is listed under No 4 Company's missing. 

 

Andy 

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7351858

Screenshot_20190210_220203.jpg

Screenshot_20190210_220339.jpg

Edited by HolymoleyRE

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kloughnane

Rolyr,

 

One of the men named on my local war memorial is Guardsman George Jesse West, also 4th Btn Grenadier Guards, also killed on 13/04/1918. I don't have a lot of information but I do have these notes:

 

. He was killed during the Battle Of Hazebrouck where the line to the east of the Nieppe Forrest was defended against overwhelming German forces. Following the battle Lord Haig praised “The troops engaged in this most gallant stand” and an Australian officer stated “The men of my company and battalion are full of admiration for the way in which the guards fought. The morale effect on our troops by their resistance was excellent”

 

Not a lot - but I hope it helps?

 

Regards,

 

Kev Loughnane

 

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The Inspector

Hi

Family info...

Florence Phillips, Guardian, was Mary Jane's daughter, b.1891. 1911 census the family were at 102 Elmswood Rd, Birkenhead as per CWGC  record.. strange having a guardian younger than himself?......looking

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector

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PRC

As well as the War Diary, the Regimental History "The Grenadier Guards in the Great War of 1914-18: Volume III" by Edward Ponsonby may also be worth a read. Its available as a free download.

https://archive.org/details/grenadierguards03pons/page/n10

The 4th Battalion have a chapter starting on page 32 which goes from the start of April 1918 and culminates in the stand and includes a map.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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GraemeClarke

Morning

 

He was killed while his battalion held positions just north of Merville in the valley of the Lys, the battalion being rushed here to attempt to stem the German advances being made in the area. On Friday 12 April 1918 the battalion took up defensive positions from l’Epinette to le Cornet Perdu.

     Casualties amounted to 3 officers and 95 other ranks killed.

     An after action report in the War Diary (in part) records,

    “On the 11th April the brigade debussed from 9pm onwards at Strazeele and battalions bivouacked in the houses and sheds to the south of the town. The Brigadier held a conference at Le Paradis and ordered the 4th Battalion, Grenadiers Guards to take over down to the road junction at L’Epinette.

     At 8am the enemy was reported to be advancing in large numbers along the whole front. This attack was repulsed by our rifle and machine gun fire.

     Shortly afterwards orders were received that the 4th Guards Brigade were to secure the line of the college-Vieux Moulin and to prevent any movement along the Merville - Neuf Berquin road.

     At 11.30am 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards and 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards and two companies of the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards advanced. The attack of the Coldstream Guards met with severe opposition, and, the enemy opened a withering cross fire of rifles and machine guns from houses in Les Pures Becques and the orchard south west of Vier Houck, inflicting considerable losses upon the battalion. The attack, however, was pushed forward 400 yards.

     No progress was made on the right of the Grenadier Guards towards Vier Houck, owing to intense machine gun and artillery fire which swept the only road over the stream.

     Thirty dead Germans were found in the houses captured by Captain Pryce and he himself killed seven. Two machine guns and two prisoners were also secured. During the whole operation the company was under heavy fire of machine guns and a battery of field guns which was firing over open sights from a position some 300 yards down the road south of Pont Rondin.

     At 3.30pm the enemy endeavoured to outflank the right of the Coldstream Guards, and penetrating between their right and centre companies. On the extreme right the enemy was repulsed by Lewis guns but after repulsing this attack, the right company, which numbered only 40 men, was obliged to withdraw on to the Pont Tournant as their right was in the air.

     The situation was restored by an immediate counter attack, carried on without orders, by a company of the Irish Guards. The counter attack was completely successful in re-establishing the line.

     At 4.30pm after an intense artillery preparation, the enemy attacked the centre company of the Coldstream Guards, and the right and centre companies of the Grenadier Guards, but was repulsed with severe losses.

     Casualties during the day had been heavy, the 4th Battalion, Grenadiers alone lost 8 officers and 250 other ranks.

     The 5th Division were ordered to take over the line, but were unable to complete this relief and on the morning of the 13th, the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards still held the front line from the road junction to Le Cournet Perdu, the 4th Grenadiers from Le Cournet Perdu to a point 300 yards south of La Couronne. The Grenadiers were assisted in digging this new line by the 820th Field Company, R.E.

     At about 6.30am the enemy attacked the centre and left companies of the 3rd Coldstream Guards. An enemy armoured car drove up to the road junction and opened heavy fire with machine guns on our post there at a range of 10 yards. The attack was however completely repulsed but, owing to the fog, the enemy was able to work small parties between the left and centre companies of the 3rd, Coldstream Guards and L’Eponette Farm.

     At 9.15am strong German attacks again developed along the whole front, and were repulsed. Meanwhile reports had been received from the left of the Grenadiers that the Germans had been working into Vaux Berquin since 9.15am and that a column estimated at 2 battalions was advancing. Two attacks developed on the left of the Grenadiers but both were beaten off.. After the failure of the second attack, the enemy brought up 2 field guns to a point blank range and destroyed the trenches in this part of the line.

     At 3.30pm a message was received from Captain Pryce stating that he was surrounded on 2 sides and that his men were shooting both ways, standing back to back in the trenches. Only 1 N.C.O. and 6 other ranks of this company survived.

     The brigade held the front line until relieved on the night of 14/15th.”

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

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Colin W Taylor

Roly, 

 

The only thing I could add to to Graeme's transcription is that Captain Thomas Tannatt Pryce was awarded a posthumous VC for this last stand; if memory serves his men ran out of ammunition and he was last seen leading a bayonet charge with his few remaining men.  It is possible that Phillips was also killed in this famous action. 

 

Kind regards

 

Colin

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clk

Hi Rolyr,

 

Until reasonably recently, I believe that the service records of Grenadier Guards were held in the Regimental Archive, but that they are now in the custody of the MoD. If that is the case a copy of his (probably heavily weeded) file should be available for £30 - see here. There is a helpdesk phone number here

 

In the absence of his service record...

 

His Soldiers Died record indicates that he enlisted in Birkenhead.

The amount of War Gratuity shown as paid in his Soldiers' Effects record is indicative of total war service counting from circa October 1916.

His medal roll record indicates that his overseas service was only with the 4/Grenadier Guards. He probably served at home in an unknown reserve/training unit before being posted overseas (at an unknown date), as a reinforcement.

His Soldiers' Effects record (see previous link) gives his date of death as "presumed". The uncertainty about his confirmed actual death may be the reason that his mother made an enquiry to the Red Cross - in the hope that he had been taken PoW. The index card is here.

Upthread posts reference war diaries, etc.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by clk

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